There is not only one myth of Spring. The season that takes flight from the thaw hatches as many stories as there are new beginnings, as many myths as there are cycles of years. Still, within these tales is a constant. What is born among us gave birth to the world. What was slain in Winter is now food. What had fallen asleep is now awakened, reborn, and in turn renews creation. Life pulses with opportunity, with hope, with new season. This issue, we bring you fourteen new stories and poems. It is our hope that you will find within them something new and something familiar -- in short, a literature of mythic proportions. So, let us bring in the Spring . . .
This trio of poems by MP Mann is so inspiring that we decided to publish them all in one issue. Trees in Hiding challenges us to consider, whether as poetic device or consensual reality, the sentience of our surroundings. Swans in Flight asks whether our relationships can be at once fulfilling and constraining. Cranes is a treatment of the Celtic tradition of the Crane Bag, and illustrates how the treasures - the graal - in our lives, can pass by unseen. Mary is the editor of From the Oak Grove: An Anthology.
Ever grieved for a character you'd come to love, in a book or film? Did you ever feel as though the artist were wrong to slay him so callously? What monstrous destruction a writer can hurl against our hearts, once we've opened them and allowed another soul to dwell within! Not to allow it means disengaging from art, refusing to let it affect us. Rather than turn away, perhaps it is better to eulogize that love.
All around us, beauty is on sale, but what is the mannequins' ultimate price? Who is it we will ultimately satisfy by purchasing a similar image? Barrette's story poem offers an eerie critique. Incidentally, another poem by the author, "The Poltergeist of Polaris" has been nominated for the 2005 Rhysling Award and will be reprinted in the 2005 Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Poems of 2004. Congratulations, Elizabeth.
How often do we flirt with death, taking in our various toxins, the venom of our manufactures and distillations? If we could look through the lens of these creations, look back at ourselves, what might we see?
It is a struggle to see the humanity in our icons. How do we take in the simultaneity of the human and the ethereal? The mind is in constant motion from the one to the other. In order to focus, it is sometimes necessary to underscore the frailty of manhood, the weakness of flesh, precisely in order to see beyond it. In this incarnational poem, the writer does just that.
What's it like to feel disconnected, even in a crowd? Perhaps, especially there. In art, our culture glorifies the 'one man who stands alone' and shudders at the 'one man acting alone'. Where is the line between maverick hero on the one hand, and outcast, alienated, lone gunman, rogue on the other? Maybe it's whether his goals are aligned with our own. We really never know who he is until it's too late. This loner, hero or villain . . . do you really want to be him, or does he really want to be you?
In the sixth of the series, Vardas plots, devising his strategy for regaining power and for . . . revenge? Among other things, in this piece, the author suggests a source for the now infamous forgery of The Donation of Constantine, used for some 600 years to demonstrate papal supremacy. It is clear that, throughout the serial, the writer is offering in fictional form a historical analysis not only outside of the mainstream, but one that is a critique of mainstream assumptions. Farrell is author of The Giza Death Star, The Giza Death Star Deployed, and Reich of the Black Sun.
"Tranquil Day" cover by Teresa Tunaley
Teresa has also provided the illustrations for Swans in Flight and for Echo in the current issue. We recently congratulated Teresa for winning Ralan's 2004 Grabber Contest for an illustration.
Storms are not unusual phenomena for Spring. We understand their patterns, their composition, and something of their power. The fact that what we don't know about storms surpasses what we do know is illustrated by their constant ability to surprise us. As with the tempest in this short story, not everything registers on the Doppler radar.
Each of us carries a burden so unique as to be a world unto itself. We are laden with the aspirations, beliefs, and loyalties that define us as potential titans. In brief, we carry our hopes on our backs. Isn't it odd how such uniquely personal trajectories are so easily interrupted by such common distractions?
Envy doesn't always turn us green. Sometimes it receives only passing thought. Whenever we wish, however casually and secretly, that another will have less and ourselves more, that others reach only what does not exceed our own accomplishments, we take responsibility for their suffering. Ethically, we say an inner 'yes' to their loss. What would it look like if the ethical implications became historical ones? Perhaps such greed is the root of evil, and evil, as T.R. Nunes articulates in this story, is always personal.
Winking at corruption? Looking the other way, now and then? Even if you never get caught or called on it, and even if you sleep soundly, you're already less than you were. If you were to imagine this transformation, what would you become? Marin is a versatile talent (see also his poem in the current issue).
In this 'episode', Black Asher faces a mystery, ritual killing, and an unknown evil. He'll need his friends, his wits, and even his publisher to get through this one. If you're just now entering the series, this is a good place to start. If you've been reading all along, you'll find some surprises. Either way, Asher seems to be looking at an unusual future.
If each reader were to donate a nickel, we'd be able to cover all expenses of the magazine. If you've found us entertaining, challenging, or educational, why not consider helping us keep the writers in pens and pencils? In the meantime, remember that our archives are chock full of additional stories, poems, and columns to fascinate, horrify, and delight. Feel free to help yourself to a read. -- Editor-in-Chief, Asher Black.